Come on inside the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage which was once the acclaimed artist’s former studio of her own. Virginia Lee Burton’s personal studio was rescued and nestled into the Lanesville Community Center property. The center’s clubhouse and grounds, established in 1954, seem to be the ideal spot for a summer rec program, even more so now. As one enters the cottage through the custom built door, there’s a brand new window straight ahead where the stove and chimney – and asbestos– had been. Virginia Lee Burton needed a wood stove. Today’s visitors won’t. New materials and insulation make the cottage cozy and warm.
At the celebration presentation on October 21, 2018, Chris Wagner, President of the Lanesville Community Center and project manager, recounted some history. Virginia Lee Burton purchased her studio from the Building Center in 1963. It was a pre fab home that she repurposed for her needs. He explained that the volunteers leveraged outreach. The Building Center responded with “anything you need,” and was so supportive of the cottage regeneration that they offered the volunteers a $5000 credit towards building materials. It takes an inspiring and talented village. Other area businesses stepped up: Timberline donated shingles; Argentino handled plastering; Closed Cell Structures out of Reading handled the spray foam so the cottage was winterized; Carpenter & MacNeille designed and commissioned door and windows custom built by Chris Roe from Bayview; architectural drawings from Dore and Whittier; KML Electric; plants and flowers from Generous Gardeners; and cut sunflowers for the reception from Shaws. How inspiring to learn that Camilla MacFadyen, artist and textile extraordinaire, had a hand in this studio-raising. Character, warmth, and charm were added to the new exterior wood work. Volunteers salvaged what they could of the studio and rebuilt a gem. Work is still underway. When Burton exited her sanctuary studio, she faced the ocean. Now it’s an ocean of love. Plans for future community programs and events (see below) are underway and volunteers welcome.
Support for the cottage renewal came from residents of Gloucester via CPA funding and donations, various city staff departments (e.g. conservation and community development), and a slew of committed volunteers. Like Russell Hobbs! Here’s the modest presentation listing some key volunteers:
The poignant celebration was held inside the Lanesville Community Center and concluded with an apt recitation from a Little House passage read by Christine Drohan.
The Lanesville Community Center Board of Directors invites you to
Family Event: “First Reading” of Virginia Lee Burton’s books with Avis Burton Demetrios and Eleanor Demetrios, Saturday, October 27, 1pm
Children’s Drawing on October 27, 1-3pm to be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum children’s room. Cape Ann Museum is the largest repository of Burton art and archives, and of the Folly Cove Designers.
You can sign up to help the Lanesville Community Center
Sign up to help the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage endeavor